Great news! After weeks of deep introspection, the Supreme Bureaucrats in Sacramento have finally issued their official Title and Summary for our initiative, which means we can now begin gathering signatures. The particular Title and Summary which they selected was fairly typical in its convoluted language and cautious analysis, but overall we are reasonably satisfied. Furthermore, we are convinced that future studies will allow the fiscal impact statement’s vague mention of “potential savings to local school districts” to be hardened into a figure of at least $300 million per year by the time the actual election ballots are prepared. The following is the official Title and Summary, issued late on July 3rd:
EDUCATION. PUBLIC SCHOOLS. ENGLISH AS REQUIRED LANGUAGE OF INSTRUCTION. INITIATIVE STATUTE. Requires all public school instruction be conducted in English. Requirement may be waived if parents or guardians show that child already knows English, or has special needs, or would learn English faster through alternate instructional technique. Provides short-term placement, not normally exceeding one year, in intensive sheltered English immersion programs for children not fluent in English. Appropriates $50 million per year for ten years funding English instruction for individuals pledging to provide personal English tutoring to children in their community. Permits enforcement suits by parents and guardians. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local governments: Probably no change in total state spending on K-12 public education. Potential savings to local school districts on programs for students with limited English proficiency.
Even as I type this message, our petitions are printing over this weekend, and should be ready for distribution early this week, at which point we must begin gathering the 650,000+ signatures which we will require to be sure of qualifying our initiative for the ballot, and ending the disastrous system of “bilingual education” in California by June 1998.
And here’s where all of you come in. We need your signatures, we need your time, we need your dollars, we need your support and your enthusiasm and your energy if our efforts are to succeed. Some of us have already put a lot of our own time and money into this effort; we’ll have to put in more. Others have been pledging their support when needed; it’s needed now. Still others have been considering helping; it’s now or never. If all of us put our noses to the grindstone for about the next four months, the “English for the Children” initiative will qualify for the ballot. For our type of initiative, getting on the ballot virtually guarantees victory at the ballot—in the entire history of the U.S., “bilingual education” has never been put to a vote of the people, and in June of 1998, we’ll demonstrate why.
For those of you concerned about working hard to put initiatives on the ballot only to see them quickly blocked by courts, take heart. The 9th Circuit Appellate Court decision of Guadalupe v. Tempe (which we have posted on our web site at www.OneNation.org) states in the clearest possible manner that “bilingual education” is optional not mandated under federal law. Thus, once our initiative passes, all California schoolchildren will begin learning English in class the first day the next school term begins.
Remember, though, that this initiative is not about immigration, and is certainly not anti-immigrant. This initiative is also not about directing blame for the dreadful failures in our current system for non-English speaking students—both political parties have their fingerprints on the mess, and I (at least) believe that most of the early supporters of “bilingual education” were well-intentioned and sincere individuals who believed that the system would work in practice as well as it does in theory. But after 25 years of testing, it is clear that they were wrong, and we must now move on to other language methods.
Today, 23.1% of all California schoolchildren don’t know English. With your help, we’ll send the current system to the junkyard in June 1998, begin teaching English to all the children in our schools at that point, and achieve something closer to 99% fluency among California schoolchildren by January 1999. Let’s get the job done!
Just e-mail, fax, or write us for the quantity of petitions which you need. We’ll send them out immediately. Also, feel free to forward this or any other message on to whomever you think might also be interested in getting rid of “bilingual education.”
Thanks for all your help, including help still to come,